BOURNE Tennis Club’s juniors continued their excellent start to the summer season with a 6-3 win over daunting opposition in the form of OTT to consolidate their strong opening win and leaving them lying in the promotion places three weeks into the season.
Bourne got off to a flying start as Matt Hassall and Jack Mangieri cruised to an 8-3 win while Iain Ross and James Meadows were decidedly more nervy in a 6-5 win that went down to a deciding game.
Will Palmer and Tom Hill went down 5-6 in their opening rubber but quickly redeemed themselves with an 8-3 win in their second, while Iain and James’ net play proved decisive in an impressive 9-2 victory over OTT’s first pair.
Matt and Jack lost some form in their final rubbers when some wayward serving resulted in 4-7, 2-9 defeats that ended their undefeated record this year.
OTT’s hopes of snatching a win were dashed, though, by Will and Tom, who scraped a 6-5 win to close the match out by virtue of six unbroken service games.
Iain and James added Bourne’s sixth set with an untroubled 7-4 win, leaving the juniors near the top of the pile after an upset against opposition that are also looking at promotion this year.
Bourne TC 16 & Under Boys
A MAKESHIFT 16 and under boys’ team lost narrowly against a much stronger Deeping side, which included three players who competed for Bourne in last year’s edition of the AEGON League.
In windy conditions that made it impossible to play an aggressive game. Bourne’s top seed, Matt Hassall, got off to a slow start in his singles and, although he saved match points in the second set and almost threw away four set points in a mammoth second-set tiebreak, he could not compete with the consistency of Oliver Brett and went down 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-10 in a rubber that left Bourne immediately on the back foot.
Second seed Ed Nation responded impeccably, however, overpowering Deeping’s Jack Mangieri in a relatively comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win.
Liam Duckworth and 12-year-old Josh James, both playing their first match for Bourne, then went into their singles rubbers needing a result. But Josh lost 1-6, 1-6 to Deeping’s Nathan Jones and while Liam came closer, his early 4-1 lead disappeared into a 4-6, 1-6 loss to Tom Cooke.
Matt and Ed then teamed up for a thrilling doubles rubber, with Ed providing a masterclass in volleying as they defeated Oliver and Jack 4-6, 6-1, 10-6.
That result left Bourne needing a win in the last doubles rubber to force a decider and started brightly, sharing the first six games. But Deeping stepped up their game and Nathan and Tom defeated Josh and Liam 3-6, 0-6 to hand Bourne a disappointing 2-4 loss overall.
Bourne TC 10 & Under Boys
BOURNE’S 10 & under team faced an impossible task last weekend away against Boston A.
But although they picked up a predictable 6-0 defeat, the match was not without positive signs for a fast-improving group of young players.
In the first singles, Sam Hallam came up against a county-standard player but managed to hit several winners past his more powerful opponent.
Toby Everist, seeded second for Bourne, also found the occasional winner but could not match his opponent’s consistency in a second 0-4, 0-4 loss.
The opening doubles rubber was another one-sided affair, but the scoreline could hardly reflect the way in which Nicholas Smith and Joe Heppenstall acquitted themselves, making very few unforced errors and ensuring that the Boston pair would have to work for their points.
The reverse singles also played out to the same scoreline, with Nicholas struggling against his opponent’s quick serve but managing to win cheap points off his own, while Joe was outgunned by his older opponent.
The best rubber of the day came in the final doubles when Toby and man-of-the-match Sam paired up and came inches away from putting games on the board, earning at one stage three break points. Boston’s winning mentality shone through on the big points, however, and Bourne can feel proud of their efforts even without a game to show for them.